Children of God cult survivor claims founder married girl, 3, in sick ceremony

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A woman has described the horrific abuse she and her family suffered during their time in the infamous Children of God cult.

The cult was founded by David Berg in the US in 1968. Eventually establishing communities worldwide, the group was created with the ideal of free sex, and a number of allegations of sexual abuse have been levelled against those in positions of power.

Both Daniella Young and her mother – third and second-generation members respectively – were born and brought up in its abusive environment in the US.

Now, appearing on the Cult Vault podcast, Daniella described one horrific incident her mum had experienced when the sexual abuse of children began to become common practice by the cult’s leaders.

“My mother was one of 14 little girls that were sent to the prophet for training. My mother was one of the oldest, she was 13. The youngest was 3", she explained.

“Two of the girls included were his own daughter and his own granddaughter.

“And he married them all in not legal, but religious ceremony, and the mother of the three-year-old was the one who ran the ceremony.

“To this day, she will not admit that there was anything wrong with his teaching. "

Daniella explained how these practices had become ingrained as a result the free sex ideologies preached by the cult’s leaders.

“It wasn’t just the actual physical abuse or sex that was going on”, she noted.

“But I think the important thing to note is that it was in everything. Sex was the doctrine.

“It was in the literature, it was in the games we played as children. You’d clean up the house after dinner when you were playing mummy and daddy and then you’d go off and make love.

“There was no way around growing up in an over-sexualised environment.

Daniella recalled how she was able to finally leave the cult, when she decided to stop adhering to its practices at the age of 15.

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“I started making my plan to get away when I was 11, but I thought for sure I’d have to wait until I was 18, just because I didn’t have anyone on the outside.", she remembered.

“When I was 15, I went through my rebellious teenage years, had some very very bad stuff happened to me, and I was like ‘that’s it, I’m done, I’m out’,”

“So I was sort of invited to leave, or ex-communicated, when I was 15.”

Recently, another survivor also shared her story of the abuse she suffered by former cult leader Derek Lincoln, who was sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison for rape and sexual assault in 2020.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website,

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